BRITAIN’S latest coronavirus patient caught an Uber taxi to hospital only to be sent home just three days before tests confirmed she had Covid-19.
The Chinese national, in her 20s or 30s, is the ninth confirmed case in Britain. She is believed to have caught the virus in China before landing at Heathrow last weekend.
She arrived at Lewisham Hospital A&E in south London on Sunday in one of the app’s cars rather than an ambulance or private vehicle, fuelling further fears of a wider spread of the disease.
She was taken into an isolation room for tests and did not come into contact with any patients, the hospital said.
The woman was then sent home in an ambulance. But the results came back positive and she was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in central London on Wednesday.
Uber said it suspended the driver’s account ‘out of an abundance of caution’ and remained ‘in close contact with Public Health England’.
The company has not said when it was alerted or if the driver had taken any further fares.
Public Health England consultant Dr Rachel Thorn Heathcock said the driver was ‘not considered high risk’ because the journey was ‘less than 15 minutes’ and lacked ‘close sustained contact’.
Dr Heathcock added: ‘We are in contact with Uber to ensure the driver receives advice and information on what to do should they feel unwell in the coming days.’
Ben Travis, head of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, said: ‘Throughout their care, the patient was escorted and did not come into contact with other patients.’ But he revealed that two members of staff have since gone into self-isolation at home.
‘All staff who had direct contact with the patient have been contacted, including two members of staff who are undergoing active surveillance at home for a 14-day period as a precautionary measure,’ he said.
The other eight confirmed UK cases are a Chinese student at the University of York and one of her relatives, British ‘super-spreader’ Steve Walsh, 53, and five Britons he infected at a French ski resort. Mr Walsh was discharged from hospital on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, health officials in Brighton and Hove — where Mr Walsh and five of the confirmed cases live — said all those who might have been in contact with them have been identified and advised to self-isolate for 14 days.
It followed health alerts at schools, medical centres, pubs and a community centre in the area.
A GP surgery in Islington, north London, is set to reopen today after being closed ‘due to coronavirus’.